4

Easy Strawberry Swiss Roll

This recipe is quick and it is an easy cake to make, the only caveat is that you need to have a swiss roll tin to bake it but you can find them in most local supermarkets. The sponge recipe is from Rachel Allen’s Cake book.

Strawberry Swiss Roll

Strawberry Swiss Roll

Ingredients:

  • Butter, melted, for greasing
  • 4 eggs
  • 125g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Warm Water
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
  • 125g Plain Flour, plus extra for dusting
  • Some Icing Sugar for dusting
  • 4 Tablespoons Strawberry Jam

You will also need a 25 x 38cm Swiss roll tin.

To Bake:

Preheat the oven to 180°C

Line the base of the swiss roll tin with baking parchment, brush the base and sides of the tin with melted butter and dust with flour.

Using a hand-held electric mixer, whisk together the eggs, caster sugar, water and vanilla bean paste until light and fluffy. Sift in the flour and fold into the mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared swiss roll tin and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the centre of the sponge is slightly springy to the touch.

Take a piece of baking parchment slightly larger in size then the tin and spread out onto a worksurface. Sprinkle the paper with caster sugar, this will stop the cake from sticking to the paper. Quickly flip the Swiss roll tin over onto the sugared paper and carefully remove the tin and parchment from the bottom of the cake.

Place a clean slightly damp tea towel over the cake when it is cooling, this will prevent drying out and cracking when you roll it up. Personally I never have the patience to wait until it is completely cool, nobody minds a few cracks in the sponge when they’re hungry!
When the cake is cool spoon the strawberry jam onto the cake and spread evenly. Roll up the swiss roll away from you and carefully transfer to a serving plate.

Sift some icing sugar on top for decoration.

Zoe adding the finishing touches to our swiss roll

Zoe adding the finishing touches to our swiss roll

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Apple Meringue Cake

One of the more unusual cakes I have ever made is a birthday cake for my Nana. I asked her what cake she would like and she replied that she would love an apple tart (Easy Peasy I thought) with meringue on top! (Erm… not so easy) and if a cake like that appeals to you, this recipe is a must.

apple meringue cake

Apple Meringue Cake

First Step is to make the Apple Cake, the recipe for that is here: Make sure that the apple crumble cake is ready and cooled before you make the meringue icing.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt

It is also preferable that you have a piping bag with a 4 or 5 mm star shaped nozzle

To Make:

Place all the ingredients in a heat proof bowl, add 2 tablespoons of cold water and set over a saucepan of simmering water.

Whisk slowly, using a balloon whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is foamy. Continue to heat and whisk until the mixture reaches 60°C when measured with a sugar thermometer – this will take about 4 minutes.

Quickly remove the bowl from the pan and pour the mixture into the bowl of an electric food mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on a high-speed for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the frosting is very thick, glossy and has cooled.

Pour the icing into a piping bag and pipe over the cake in swirling motions.

I warmed the cake up in the oven before serving.

apple meringue cake

Nana’s Apple Meringue Birthday Cake

4

Vanilla Fairy Cakes

This is definitely one to do with the kids. Zoe absolutely loves helping to make these and having total control over the decoration! The recipe for the vanilla sponge is from Rachel Allen’s Food for living with a simple white icing topping.

image of Zoe and her Fairy Cakes

Zoe, so proud of her work she photo bombed this pic lol

Ingredients:

  • 75ml milk
  • 25g butter
  • 75g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 125 g caster sugar

For the Icing

  • 200g Icing sugar (sifted)
  • Boiled water

To Bake:

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place cupcake cases in a bun tray. The mixture is intended to make 12 cup cakes but I make 24 smaller fairy cakes so there are more to decorate! So if you are planning to the same as me, you will need 2 bun trays.

Heat the milk in a saucepan until it almost comes to the boil, take it off the heat, add the butter and stir until it has melted in the milk. Set aside.

Sift the flour and the baking powder, add the salt. In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla bean paste with an electric hand mixer until it is light and fluffy, about 10mins. (It’s at this point that Zoe usually does some colouring while I mix) Gradually beat in the sugar until thick and moose like. Turn the speed down and blend in the flour then the milk. Stop beating as soon as it’s all mixed in.

Spoon into each paper case and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. Allow to cool slightly in the tin before moving to the wire rack and icing.  Now spooning the mixture in with two spoons is fine but I got a batter pourer and haven’t looked back, makes buns very easy to pour indeed!

Icing:

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, gradually add 4 table spoonfuls and beat with a spoon until the required texture. You may need to add more water a little at a time to get the right consistency. When ready pour on the cupcakes to cover .

Now for the fun bit:

Decorations! There are too many things to list on here to decorate but some of Zoe’s favourites are mini smarties, pink sparkles, edible flowers, multicoloured sprinkles. Let the little artists do there thing and see the pride in their little faces when they’re finished!

Decorated fairy cakes

Decorated fairy cakes

6

Apple Crumble Cake

Oh I am very fussy about my apple crumble, any type of apple cake really. The thought of biting into an apple pie and feeling a crunch *shudder*

So if you like smooth apple, a spongy base with a sweet crumble on top, this is the recipe for you.

I have adapted it from a recipe for a Ballymaloe mincemeat crumble cake in Rachel Allen’s Cake book.

Yummy Apple Crumble

Yummy Apple Crumble

Ingredients:

100g butter softened, plus extra for greasing
100g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons of milk
175g self-raising flour
3 cooking apples
Icing sugar for sprinkling

For the crumble topping:
100g self-raising flour sifted
75g caster sugar
75g butter chilled and cut into 1 cm cubes

You will also need a 22cm diameter, loose bottomed cake tin with 6cm sides.

Now to Bake:

Preheat the oven to 180°C and butter the side and base of the cake tin make sure that the base of the tin is upside down so there’s no lip and the cake can easily slide off when cooked.

To make the crumble topping:

Place the flour and the caster sugar in a bowl, then add the butter and use your fingertips to rub in until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Kids love to help with this,  lots of fun and messy hands!

To make the sponge:

Cream the butter until soft in an electric food mixer and add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl with the vanilla bean paste and milk until just mixed then gradually add them to the creamed butter mixture beating all the time. Place the mixture into a large bowl and sift in the flour and fold in gently to combine.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin then using a table spoon evenly spread it over the base of the tin.

Wash and peel the apples. I like my apples to be soft with a smooth texture in my cakes so I like to grate the apples before putting it in the cake. I use an electric kitchen machine for this but if you don’t have one you could just cut the apple into thin slices. When your apples are prepared, place them evenly on top of the sponge mixture. Finally sprinkle the crumble topping on top, be sure to completely cover the apple and sponge mixture below.

Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes, if you insert a skewer into the centre of the cake it should come out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for at least 20 minutes then loosen around the edges using the dull side of a knife and removed the sides of the tin, transfer your cake onto a plate and dust with sifted icing sugar.

Serve:

I can only eat this cake warm but there are many members of my family that don’t care about the temperature. It is also lovely with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Apple Crumble Cake

Apple Crumble Cake